Configure statuses and workflows

An Aha! workflow is the set of statuses and transitions that a record such as an initiative, feature, or idea may move through during its lifecycle. You can customize your team's workflow by workspace so that Aha! mirrors however your team works best. You can also customize your team's record layouts, types, and statuses.

You will need to be an administrator with customization permissions to create a custom workflow at the account level. But any user with workspace owner permissions can apply created workflows to their workspace. They can also clone workflows to create a copy for themselves or edit existing workflows to make changes.

Note: This article refers to releases and features. Depending on your workspace type, you may see "schedules" and “activities" in your workspace.

Click any of the following links to skip ahead:

Add a custom workflow

To add a custom workflow, navigate to Settings ⚙️ → Account → Statuses and workflows.

  • Click the Add workflow button to create a new workflow.

  • Click the Set defaults button to set default workflows.

  • Use the Workflow type dropdown to filter the list of existing workflows.

When you click the Add workflow button, you can select which type of record workflow you wish to customize. You can create workflows for the following record types:

  • Goals

  • Initiatives

  • Releases / Schedules

  • Features / Activities
    Note: This also applies to epics, and to requirements.

  • Ideas

If you want to create a custom workflow from scratch, select Simple example. If you want to use one pre-built for a particular workspace type, select it from the list of example workflows, then click Create workflow to create your workflow.

You can customize your workflow once you have created it. Update the Name of the workflow and add an optional Description.

Next, select whether your workflow will be flexible or fixed.

  • Flexible workflows allow users to skip steps in the workflow and do not support approval gates. They are best suited for workflows that do not follow the same steps in the same order every time — drafting a go-to-market blog post for a content marketing team, for example, with a variable number of reviews depending on the post's content.

  • Fixed workflows do not allow users to skip workflow steps and support approval gates. They are best suited for workflows that need to be consistent, like a product development initiative that needs regulatory and financial approval before implementation can begin.

Note: If you choose to create a fixed workflow, then you may want to read more about workflow approvals.

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Set default workflows

You can set a default workflow, by workspace type and record type, by clicking Set defaults.

From the modal, select the appropriate workspace type tab, then select the workflows you want to be the default for each record type.

Note: Requirements and epics both use feature / activity workflows. You can create separate feature / activity workflows for each record type, or use one workflow for all three.

Once set, the workflows you select will be the default workflows the next time someone creates a workspace in that type. Aha! administrators can use this setting to drive consistency across workspaces of the same type. Workspace owners can change the default workflows if they need to.

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Add custom statuses

There are two ways to add custom statuses. You can edit the workflow's example statuses to reflect your processes. Or you can delete the example statuses and create new ones by clicking Add status.

You may want the names of your custom statuses to map to the statuses used in other third-party tools (like your bug tracking system). This is particularly valuable if you have integrated Aha! with a third-party tool.

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Choose status categories

Status categories in Aha! help you automate certain displays and actions.

When you add a new status or edit an existing status, you will be able to choose the status category that best matches. You can have multiple custom statuses that have the same status category. For example, Design and Development statuses might both be part of the In progress status category. If the status does not match one of the category options, leave it blank.

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There are some considerations when choosing status categories for ideas:

  • When a user adds a new idea, the idea defaults to the first status that has not been assigned to a status category. These appear in order from top to bottom — you can drag statuses to reorder.

  • Promoting an idea to a feature will automatically change the idea status to the first custom status in the status category In progress.

  • Only statuses that are in a status category will be published to or trigger email notifications from public and private ideas portals.

  • Shipping a feature triggers the idea status to change to the first status in the status category Shipped.
    Note: If you do not have a status category of Shipped in your release workflow, shipping the release will revert the release to the first status in the category Not started.

Status categories also affect features and releases:

  • When a release is shipped, all features with statuses not in the categories Done, Shipped, or Will not do will be moved to another release.

  • Any features with statuses in the category Done will be changed to Shipped.

  • If you do not have a status category of Shipped in your release workflow, shipping the release will revert the release to the first status in the category Not started.

Finally, the status changes of a feature's requirements affect the parent feature:

  • If any requirement has a status in the category of In progress, then the feature status will change to In Progress.

  • If all requirements have a status in the category of Done, then the feature status will change to Done.

  • If all requirements have a status in the category of Shipped, then the feature status will change to Shipped.

  • If all requirements have a status in the category of Will not implement, then the feature status will change to Will not do.

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Set transition buttons

Transition buttons help Aha! users follow a predefined workflow. To add transitions between two statuses, click the + icon in the Transition buttons column beneath the first status. Then you can choose how the statuses should flow and add a name for the transition button.

If you want to add approval gates to your transitions — so that a record will need a formal approval before it can move to the next status — you will want to read more about workflow approvals.

The name of the transition appears on the button for moving between states, so choose an action phrase, such as "Start designing." It is also helpful to acknowledge the completion of a step in your flow, such as "Requirements completed."

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Add feature and activity types

When you create a new features or activities workflow, scroll to the bottom of the workflow creation page for the option to edit or create Custom types. Types allow you to add templates to the feature or activity's description, as well as to any requirements. This way, you can streamline bug reports or follow a gather consistent information from an IT request.

When you add a new feature or activity, the first type on the list will be the default. We recommend reordering feature and activity types to represent the most commonly selected types first.

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Apply a custom workflow to a workspace

The last step in setting up a custom workflow is to apply it to a workspace. Workspace owners can do this by navigating to Settings ⚙️ → Workspace → Configure. This is true for all workflow types, except ideas, which are covered in the next section.

Changes to a workflow are applied immediately and affect existing records.

Note: If you change the workflow for a record type in Settings ⚙️ → Workspace → Configure, it will change the statuses for all records in that workspace, which cannot be undone.

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To change your account’s default workflows assigned to new workspaces, navigate to Settings ⚙️ → Account → Configure statuses and workflows and click the Set defaults button at the top of the page.

The default workflows you set are automatically applied when new hierarchy elements are created. Note that the updated default workflows are only applied to newly added workspaces — they are not applied to existing ones, which you must update individually.

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Apply custom ideas workflow

Idea workflows are assigned in Settings ⚙️ → Workspace → Ideas → Configure. Click on the Edit ideas workflow button and select the new workflow to be applied. You will then be prompted to map current statuses to new statuses.

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After your ideas workflow is updated, you can also decide which statuses show in your ideas portal. Go to Settings ⚙️ → Account → Configure statuses and workflows. Select your workflow and you will see a column that indicates whether the status is visible on your portal or not.

To show a status in your ideas portal, click on the status and check the Show in ideas portal option.

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